fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "uk national lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "SANDRA GOMEZ" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 11:35:51 -0000
Subject: WINNING NOTIFICATION
THE EUROMILLIONS LOTTERY PROMOTION
ONLINE LOTTERY DEPARTMENT
Reference Number (CCX-772-876-EM)
We are obliged to announce to you the result of the just concluded monthly
final draws of the EuroMillions Online Lottery Promotion and your email
was among the 20 Lucky winners who won 2,100,000.00 Euros (Two Million One
Hundred Thousand Euros) each on the EuroMillions Online Lottery Promotion
dated Friday 1st of March 2013.
This is from the total prize money of 42 Million Euros that will be
shared among the 20 lucky winners and you are extremely lucky to be one of
the lucky winners, therefore you are instantly qualified and eligible to
receive a total prize money of 2,100,000.00 Euros (Two Million One Hundred
Thousand Euros) following the results we released Yesterday and your email
is attached to Reference Number (CCX-772-876-EM) Ticket Number
(343-221-8756) and Ballot Serial Number (454-17) and Lucky Star Number (3)
(7) among others.
The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses
from an exclusive list of 290,600 E-mail addresses of individuals and
corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search
from the Internet. However, no tickets were sold but all email addresses
were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy.
The selection process was carried out through random selection of our
computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over
290,000 email addresses drawn from all the Continents.
This Lottery program was duly approved by the UK National Lottery and also
Licensed by the The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).
This lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to sensitized the
general public of this wonderful initiative. As indicated by the
computerized selection machine, your Lucky Star Numbers falls within our
Europe Fiduciary Agent in Madrid-Spain and for your security, you are
advised to keep your winning details private until your claim is processed
and your prize money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit.
To claim your prize money, kindly fill the form below and forward same to
our Fiduciary Agent for final verification, afterward you will be directed
to the paying bank where a cheque of 2,100,000.00 Euros (Two Million One
Hundred Thousand Euros) has already been deposited in your favour.
YOUR FULL NAME:.....................................
Contact Person: Mr. Luis Fernandez
Telephone Number: +34 602-660-402
Fax Number: +34-917-692-635
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is worthy of note to keep your winning details away from the general
public, especially your Lucky Star Number to avoid any discrepancies as
EuroMillions shall not be held responsible of any false claims and its
The entire staffs and Management Team of the EuroMillions Online Lottery
Promotion wish to congratulate you for this lucky jackpot and please spend
the money prudently.
HEAD, ONLINE LOTTERY DEPARTMENT
THE EUROMILLIONS LOTTERY PROMOTION
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